Instagram videos shorter than 15 minutes will be automatically shared as Reels, but existing videos on the platform are unaffected by the change, the company announced alongside other sweeping changes to the Reels platform. The social media network first added Reels as part of an attempt to compete with TikTok, the hot social media app that routinely goes viral with short, punchy, user-created videos. Since the addition, Instagram has continued to make changes that make Reels more prominent on the platform. There is a Reels tab at the bottom of the application, and Reels can appear within a user’s main Instagram feed. As part of a new shift for Instagram, Reels is set to become the default medium for sharing videos on the social media site.
After Reels made its way to the platform, the company did not stop there in its effort to create a similar experience to TikTok. In May 2022, Instagram began testing video reactions to reels, similarly reflecting the way that users can react to videos on TikTok. However, it seemed that the issue with Reels is not related to the available feature set, but rather, an issue of community adoption. The Reels tab is routinely filled with videos that have made its way to Instagram after being first created on another platform, like TikTok. To increase the community adoption of Reels, Instagram is trying a new strategy — making all videos on the platform shorter than 15 minutes available on the Reels platform, which will no doubt increase the number of Reels uploaded to the social media site.
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Instagram says that all videos uploaded to the platform will be uploaded as Reels if they are shorter than 15 minutes, but those longer than 15 minutes will remain as traditional Instagram videos. Content that has already been uploaded to the platform is also unaffected by the change, so the policy only applies to new videos. The company says that the change will occur in “the coming weeks,” and it believes that the full-screen experience provided by Reels is a better solution than the 1:1 aspect ratio Instagram typically provides. However, a consequence of this is that some videos will be automatically shared on Instagram’s Discovery page. There’s a chance that a video uploaded to Instagram will be shared on random user’s feeds, since the videos are now uploaded as Reels, depending on the user’s privacy settings.
The privacy designation of a user’s account — either public or private — is very important when it comes to the changes to Instagram videos set to debut in the coming weeks. If a user has a public account, their Reels may automatically appear on the Discovery page. These videos will be recommended to other users that are not currently following the creator, and will be seen by significantly more people than older videos that were not shared as Reels. Currently, this only applies to videos that are under 90 seconds in length, per the company. Private accounts are treated the same as they always have been treated — only a user’s followers can see their content when their account is set to private.
The shift will also affect the way that a user’s profile appears, as all videos will now become separate from photo posts. Previously, a user’s Reels appeared in a separate tab on their profile, but videos not shared as Reels were a part of the user’s main page. Now, because all videos under 15 minutes are shared as Reels, all Instagram videos will be shown in the Reels tab on a user’s profile. In addition to the change to Instagram videos, Reels got its own boost. The company added more remix layouts, remixes for photos, and remix clips that appear after another Reel — providing more options for user interaction to Reels. It is yet to be seen how the change will affect Instagram, but it reflects the company’s all-in attitude towards Reels and short-form videos.